Retail Sales at Bookstores Down in February

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Retail sales at bookstores were down by three percent in February 2017 compared to February 2016, according to preliminary figures recently released by the Bureau of the Census.

February 2017 bookstore sales are estimated at $744 million, compared to sales of $767 million for the same period last year. Total retail and food service sales in February 2017 are estimated at $419.7 billion, compared to $413.6 billion in February 2016, an increase of 1.5 percent.

The American Booksellers Association reported a 3.66 percent increase in units sold in February 2017 over February 2016, based on data from more than 500 independent bookstore locations reporting to the weekly Indie Bestseller Lists.


2016 Final
(Millions of Dollars)

(Millions of Dollars)

% Change
2017 over 2016







744 (p)




2,234 (p)


(p) Preliminary figure

Note: Estimates reflect sales of all types of participating bookstores, including trade, college, religious, chain stores (including superstores), and others. A bookstore is defined as any retail establishment with sales comprised of more than 50 percent new books and periodicals, and estimates include sales of all products in these stores.